About Us

Hello,

We are Nicola and Thomas Webb but you can call us Nic and Tom. We are embarking on our first round of IVF and thought it would be nice to document our progress. We shall add blog posts as and when we feel like it, hopefully some photos and video too.

It would probably be good to give you a bit of back story of how we came to this point in our lives. Get comfy, it’s a long story…

Nine years ago we decided that we would stop using contraception and let nature takes its course. It didn’t… so we tried harder. That didn’t work either. It became apparent that something wasn’t working despite our best efforts so we sort medical advice. We underwent some tests. In fact, quite a lot of tests for Nic. Tom had a sperm analysis done and it was fine; all within normal range. Nic had a blood test which showed a low reading for progesterone, the hormone which makes a woman ovulate. This was tested for 4 consecutive months (yay) and was constantly low. The GP decided Nic should have an ultrasound of her ovaries as being overweight, painful periods and with low progesterone, she could have PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). The scan came back normal, so the GP put Nic on an ovulation stimulation drug called Clomid. She did 5 months of this and it had no effect either, so we were referred to reproductive medicine clinic to see a consultant. The consultant decided to send Nic for a HSG (Hysterosalpinogram), to check the patency of her fallopian tubes. The procedure was very painful and they found the left tube was blocked. Although this reduces fertility, there’s no reason it should stop it altogether. The consultant then decided to check Nic for Endometriosis or Fibroids by having a Hysteroscopy. The results came back clear.

After the results of all the tests were reported back to the consultant, he basically told us we were a perfect candidate for IVF but Nic’s BMI was too high for us to qualify. He wasn’t very sensitive and dismissed us and told us there was nothing to be done until Nic had lost the weight.  It was a bit of a set back because BMI is an odd calculation that doesn’t really work very well, especially if you are on the short side, which Nic is.  We worked out how much weight she would have to lose for us to qualify. It was a lot. It seemed there would be nothing left of her if she lost that much but we had a goal to aim for and we were going to give it a good try.

Losing weight is hard. Very, very hard. It requires immense discipline and great mental strength. For years Nic dieted and exercised but we could never quite reach that magic number. We were getting to the point where it seemed impossible and then something happened. Something quite unexpected.

We got pregnant.

The joy we felt was indescribable. We had done it! No more jumping through hoops to please a doctors checklist. No more checking the scales.

We miscarried at ten weeks. The baby had stopped growing at 5 weeks; what is known as a “missed miscarriage”.

The pain cannot be described either. Not because there are no words but because it is too unbearable to even think of those words.

Back on the diet for Nic and we aimed ourselves at the BMI hoop. Nic tried so hard to loose the weight but it seemed the target was unobtainable. That is until a rather extreme solution presented itself.

A change in Nic’s medical insurance meant she became eligible for gastric surgery at an affordable price. We talked it through and she bravely decided to go under the knife for our cause. A lot of people think having a gastric bypass is easy. It is not. The surgery reduced Nic’s stomach to 15ml, that is less than a shot in your local pub. There were complications too. The join between Nic’s new tiny stomach and her intestine healed over meaning she couldn’t eat or drink for thirteen days. She was hospitalised over christmas and fed through a tube in her arm to keep her alive. Was it worth it?

Yes.

Within a year she had hit the target BMI and passed it. We started the IVF process again. We had some tests done and all seemed well. There was one hormone that was a little high but still within the government guidelines. Everything was set for our consultation and for it all to go ahead. Things are never easy though are they….

The consultation was going well until we got to the result of this one hormone test. FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone). The government NICE guidelines state that this hormone should be below 15. Ideally it should be under 10 but 15 is ok. Nic’s was 13.2. A little high but still ok… or so we thought. Approximately one month before our consultation the local management body for our hospital had decided that they would only refer a couple for IVF if the FSH level was lower than 8.9. Not again! Another hoop to jump through. Another piece of bureaucracy that was stopping us reach our goal. The consultant agreed to a retest of the hormone level but only one.

They took the blood and did the test.

We waited.

Waited some more.

8.1! We passed! There were two more examinations they wanted to do before sending off the referral but we had ticked all the boxes. Another HSG and another ultrasound scan. The HSG came back that both tubes were now clear, but on the ultrasound the Radiologist found a small polyp that would need to be removed before IVF by Hysteroscopy. Eventually the date for the procedure came through and we were surprised to learn that this would be done with no pain relief or sedation! On the day, Nic could not take the pain of the procedure and it was decided to remove it under General Anaesthetic after all. Another wait! This time all went well. Once we were finished we asked how long it would take for our referral to go though. This was the reply “It will go though as soon as we have a valid FSH result.”

We have that, we got an 8.1. At least we did three months and three days ago. The FSH level has to have been taken within three months.

They took the blood and did the test.

We waited.

We waited some more.

9.2.

We are not eligible by 0.3 of whatever it is they are measuring it by.

We were devastated… and angry. Very angry. We were still within the government guidelines! That didn’t count. It had to be 8.9 or lower.

We went to see the Clinical Nurse Specialist who was looking after us. She was lovely and comforted us. She was concerned by how much swing there was in Nic’s level. She told us that with results this varied it was probably a good idea to do the test again. One last shot. After this it would be over.

They took the blood and did the test.

We waited.

We waited some more.

8.2 We did it!

Our referral to Bourn Hall was sent the same day the results came in. We particularly wanted to go to Bourn Hall as it is fairly close to where we live but mostly because it was the place where IVF was invented. Louise Brown the first ever IVF baby was born there. On top of that it is a lovely setting with very kind and helpful staff.

We are writing this on the eve of our first consultation with them.

This is it. This is what we have worked so hard for.

Our chance.

Even if we don’t succeed at least we know we have done all we could do.

Tom and Nic

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7 thoughts on “About Us

  1. Hi there,

    I came across your blog through a friend of mine and just wanted to say we had total fertilisation failure on our first IVF attempt and it’s a terrible shock. I have just had a 2nd cycle using ICSI and although the cycle was a bit of a disaster and we have a neg result (long story – over stimmed) we did get fertilisation so wanted to give you hope! Feel free to contact me.

    Nicola xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry to hear about your cycles and thank you for sharing. It’s experiences like yours that are helping us remain strong and focused. I’m sure if we go down the ICSI route we will have lots of questions! Thank you again, – Tom

      Like

  2. Just wanted to wosh you all the luck in the world with your IVF cycle.

    Bourn Hall are responsible for helping us to concieve our Boy Girl twins due in a few weeks time.

    Took 3 attempts but we got there in the end…its the hardest process in the world to go through but so worth it in the end.

    I found that the Zeta West IVF hypnotherapy CD helped me through my sucessful cycle.

    Hope to see sucess on your blog soon x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, so comforting to hear of ppl in a similar situation. My husband & I have been trying for 5 years & he already has a son so we pretty much knew the problem was with me. I had a HSG test (not pleasant!) & it confirmed that my Fallopian tubes are basically crinkly, not straight. The hospital dismissed us to the words of “it would be a miracle if you had a baby naturally” so after lots of talking we decided to go to Bourn. My husband is working so hard to pay for this so it’s our only go on IVF & ICSI. I have literally just done my 1st injection this evening. I hope your dreams come true & I’m sorry you feel as though you have been cheated by the system as we do too. The whole NHS ‘red tape’ is a joke! Good luck, Becky x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: No Matter Where You Go, There You Are. | journey to the far side of the womb

  5. Hi Nic and Tom. I fully understand the pain that you are going thru. We went thru couple of IUI cycles, the second one of which resulted in a pregnancy. Unfortunately, we lost the baby at 20 weeks. It took us several months to recover from that loss, at least, as much as it is humanly possible. After taking some time off from this, we decided to go for another round of IUI. It didn’t work this time. We then opted for IVF. The first IVF didn’t result in a pregnancy. The second one did, but after 2 weeks of rising FSH levels, we again had a miscarriage. This was after we did the frozen embryo transfer with PGD (with ICSI) testing and transferred “good” embryos. We finally decided to change the Doctor, and are currently in the process of radically changing our diets, supplements, etc, hoping that it might finally work this time.

    Nevertheless, our best wishes to both of you. May God bless you with a beautiful and healthy baby soon!!

    Liked by 1 person

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